Unit 5, Section A: Factors Effecting Performance

                   The use of different methods of feedback to improve techniques in hockey.

Feedback is an important element in developing a new skill and is defined as “information received by the individual or group either during or after completion of the performance” (Complete A-Z Physical Education Handbook). In order to learn and expand on skills both guidance and feedback are necessary. Although guidance is associated with feedback there is a clear difference, as feedback is information regarding what we have already completed where as guidance is with reference to the task ahead. There are many categories of feedback that can be used to help the learning of a hockey skill depending upon the environment and condition of the skill taking place.

Positive feedback is a fundamental part of learning as “feedback about a performance should outline what was performed correctly” (advanced PE for EDEXCEL –pg 112) meaning that the superior element of a skill is constantly repeated through using deliberate praise (the athlete now perceiving what part of the skill is correct) whist recurrently developing the elements which need improving. Eventually the whole skill can be performed at a high standard through positively expressing accurate skill performances to the learning athlete. A hit in hockey consists of a variety of techniques to collectively join the skill together, therefore if the performers’ feet are in the correct position in relation to the ball but their hands require adjustment in order for further development to take place, positive feedback concerning the position of the feet allows continual advances in skill level as the athlete will no longer change that precise aspect of the skill which is given the praise and consequently focuses on the positioning of the hands. Eventually the athlete will receive positive feedback in all technical aspects of the skill and continue to practice the correct method, significantly improving their hockey performance. Negative feedback is another example of feedback that is “used to inform the athlete as to what was incorrect about the movement. Negative feedback must include information on the action(s) required by the athlete to achieve the correct movement” (Foundations of Sport and Exercise- pg 43).This alteration is vital to athletes of a high standard who wish to fine-tune their techniques as reaching an elite level in hockey becomes very competitive and therefore refining all skills is fundamental in attaining this stage. Unlike positive feedback where the basic foundation of the techniques to perform a skill are learnt, negative feedback (although on some level can be de-motivating) is greatly superior in focusing on diminutive details throughout the skill in order to improve performance. Such detail as during a 1v1 attacking situation, to dramatically move your body to the left to indicate a pass left, implementing the defenders action to step across to stop the pass from taking place and then with speed eliminating the defender by taking the ball to the right is a skill in which only negative feedback can achieve. This is because although the performer is attaining positive feedback through using this skill, negative feedback enables the coach/trainer to work with talented athletes on smaller aspects of the skill in order to make sure that the athlete can achieve precision when faced with all circumstances on a hockey pitch that you have to deal with.

“Terminal feedback is when an athlete is provided information before and after the performance” (advanced PE for EDEXCEL –pg 112) It would appear that terminal feedback is of great importance for the learning of individual skills such as hitting, flicking and dragging in hockey. Research has been quite consistent in revealing that terminal feedback is not only important to the learning process, but, indeed, is a necessary condition for any learning to occur. When performing a push pass in hockey for the first time, information must be gathered before the event in order to adapt certain principles of how to perform the skill, and also after the event, using terminal feedback to correct the mistakes and errors in any components of the skill. “Concurrent feedback refers to information that is available during the performance of a task, that is, while a response is being made” (www.coachsci.sdsu.edu). This is where an athlete gathers extrinsic information from a coach watching their skill or intrinsic information where the athlete feels the wrong movements taking place within him/herself. Although under the same name, there is a clear difference between intrinsic terminal feedback and extrinsic terminal feedback when relating back to hockey performances. When categorizing the top class perform and contrasting these athletes with beginners in the same sport, the advanced performers would develop further with intrinsic terminal feedback while the less experienced players with extrinsic terminal feedback. Purely through experience and practice a trained athlete can sense through movement alone what was correct or flawed concerning the skill just performed. Untrained athletes however adopt a more extrinsic terminal coaching method as limited practice and training means that they are not yet aware of the movements needing to occur throughout their body in order to bring about a successful outcome in skill level. It would appear that the more elite the athlete the best method by which to accomplish success at all skills would be to gradually transfer extrinsic terminal feedback into intrinsic terminal feedback. However as all hockey skills and ability can be developed no matter how experience a player is, extrinsic terminal feedback is still vital in order to achieve success.

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“Intrinsic information is also a kind of feedback as it is a response to how the skill felt as it was being performed through the kinaesthetic sense” (advanced PE for EDEXCEL –pg 112). The primary role of intrinsic feedback is that it allows the performer to evaluate a response. “It provides a frame of reference so that errors in response can be detected and attempts made to correct them” () It is this discrepancy between the actual response and the desired response that acts as input for the next reaction. Typically, when a response achieves a desired end the performer ...

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